Christian and war

Gert-Jan van Zanten, conclusion

It is my delight to write a conclusion to our debate on the question whether Christians can use lethal force in war. My brother Keith believes that we can and yet, he has failed to give the proper defense that proves his position.

Some words in relation to Keith's negative.

In Keith's negative he writes that I have assumed and asserted that just and lawful killing is wrong. He then proceeds to write that not all killing is wrong. Keith starts with the covenant that God made with the nation of Israel and indeed in that covenant God legislated the use of lethal force in war. We fully agree with this. But we not under this law, God now speaks to us through His Son. (Coll. 3: 16, 17; Hebr. 1: 1-3) Keith is in the wrong covenant.

Keith then also writes that Christ did not change the outward act of murder. In my affirmative I have shown that Christ brought in new revolutionary teaching when it came to murder. Christ  did change the outward act of murder, as He changed the law on swearing, as He changed the teaching of divorce etc.

Consider further:
“Hate thine enemy” is what the OT teaches in passages like Deut 23:3-4; 6-7, Psalms 26: 5; 31: 6; 139: 21-22. However, the new Testament teaches us that we are to love our enemies.
Conclusion: Christ brought in new revolutionary teaching towards enemies.

In his negative Keith writes that Christ taught against “personal vengeance”, however Christ never used that word. It is a word that Keith added.

In his negative, Keith shows that the government does not carry the sword in vain. And with that we agree. However, Keith has not shown us that Christians can be a part of that government in a position of using lethal force and that is what Keith needs to prove.

We are still waiting for the verses that show that Christians can be a part of the government using lethal force, Keith has not produced the verse and that has been his job.

Whenever Keith talks about God and Him taking lives in a just and legal way Keith gives examples from the old Testament. Again, Keith is in the wrong covenant.

Keith writes that my arguments on love ignores the innocent victim. However, Keith forgets that I have also defended that God has given the government the authority to carry a sword.
So, I do not ignore true biblical love nor the innocent victim.

Keith further writes that Christians can use deadly force, but only when it is in a legal manner upholding justice. However that begs the question, what is just and legal warfare?
That would mean that a soldier needs to be known with “all the facts”of a specific war, can he always know such? I let the reader answer this question.

Arguments that Keith did not deal with.

Keith did not deal with my argument that a Christian has killed the passions of the flesh, (Gal. 5: 24) and among these passions are murder. So how can a Christian have killed the passion of murder and yet still practice it?  This is a blow to Keith's position.

Also, Keith did not deal with my argument from Isaiah 2, neither shall they learn war any more”. This shows an important principle, it shows that in the law that would go forth from Jerusalem (new covenant) that war would not be taught anymore. This shows that war was being taught in the old covenant, and we see this clearly, however when the new covenant came, war would not be taught anymore. However, Keith's position shows that war was still being taught. A blow to Keith's position.

Some crucial thoughts in this debate.

Romans 12 and 13 are crucial chapters in our discussion.

In chapter 12 we read how Christians are to act towards “all men”.

When we look at the context we see, Christians are to bless those who persecute them (Rom. 12: 14), recompense no men evil for evil, (Rom. 12: 17), provide things honest in the sight of all men (Rom. 12: 17) “ If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with “all men” and “be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good”.

Then in chapter 13 it is written: “Owe “no men” any thing, but to love one another”.
Avenge NOT yourselves, beloved, but give place unto the wrath of God”, we are not to avenge ourselves.

Romans 12 and 13 makes a clear distinction between what God does through civil government and through Christians. Civil government carry the sword, Christians are to do good “unto all men”. (Gal. 6: 10)

Two questions.

1. We ask the question, since Keith believes that Christians can kill in war. Can Christians also commit adultery in war? Can I also lie in war? If not, why not.
If killing is justified, why is committing adultery or lying not justified?

2. If wars can be fought like in the Old Testament, why are not complete nations wiped out with women and children in wars that are fought in our days? I mean, in the old covenant, many times complete nations were wiped out including children, women and animals. If God is still fighting wars in the same way, why do we not see wars like these? I let the reader answer.

Conclusion.

Keith has shown that God fought lawful and just wars in the old covenant and with that we agree. However, Keith has not shown that Christians can fight lawful and just warfare in the new covenant.

Keith has shown that God has instituted government and that the government does not carry the sword in vain and with that we agree.

However, Keith has not shown that Christians can be a part of the government using lethal force.

Keith has not provided the evidence for his proposition.

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